I’m not a PKK manager, member, spokesperson or sympathizer: HDP co-chair Demirtaş

I’m not a PKK manager, member, spokesperson or sympathizer: HDP co-chair Demirtaş

EDİRNE – Doğan News Agency
I’m not a PKK manager, member, spokesperson or sympathizer: HDP co-chair Demirtaş The jailed co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has said he is not “a manager, member, spokesperson or a sympathizer” of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in testimony in a case against him for allegedly “insulting” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

“I’m not the manager, member, spokesperson or a sympathizer of the PKK. I’m the co-chair of the HDP,” he said.

“I criticize all means of violence and war, and I’m against all politics of [war],” Demirtaş said in his testimony via the voice and video informatics system (SEGBİS) from his jail in the northwestern province of Edirne as part of an investigation launched by the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

“What’s interesting is that despite the fact that the statements that ended the peace process [between the PKK and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)] were made by government officials, I’m being held responsible for PKK attacks,” he said. 

The aforementioned case was launched against him for a speech he made on Sept. 9, 2015, in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır regarding clashes between security forces and the PKK.

“The HDP doesn’t have any responsibility for the bloodshed. The ones who took the political decision [to end the peace process] were the president and the prime minister,” he said. 

The comment does not continue a single insult, Demirtaş said, adding that the speech was made by the co-chair of a political party in criticism of another political party. Demirtaş also said that during the time when he made the speech, HDP buildings were under attack. 

“Even though they had no connection to our party, the houses and businesses of Kurdish people were set on fire just because they were Kurdish. What I criticized was the speeches made by the president and the prime minister that targeted the HDP. There is no doubt that all of my speeches were made in the context of freedom of speech and thought,” he added. 

During his testimony, Demirtaş also criticized the justice system in Turkey, saying the law works differently for him and the leader of the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli. 

“In societies where search for justice and belief in law is weakened, the state of chaos, fear and panic becomes the general spirit of society. According to surveys, trust in law is 2.9 percent,” he added.